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Asterisk Call Files


Asterisk has the ability to initiate a call from outside of the normal methods such as the dialplan, manager interface, or spooling interface.


titleNFS Considerations

By default, Asterisk will prefer to use inotify or kqueue where available. When the spooling directory is on a remote server and is mounted via NFS, the inotify method will fail to work. You can force Asterisk to use the older polling method by passing the --without-inotify flag to configure during compilation (e.g. ./configure --without-inotify).

Call File Syntax

The call file consists of <Key>: <value> pairs; one per line.


  1. Execute a single application, or
  2. Execute the dialplan at the specified context/extension/priority.

To execute an application:

  • Application: <appname> - The application to execute
  • Data: <args> - The application arguments

To start executing applications in the dialplan:

  • Context: <context> - The context in the dialplan
  • Extension: <exten> - The extension in the specified context
  • Priority: <priority> - The priority of the specified extension; (numeric or label)
  • Setvar: <var=value> - You may also assign values to variables that will be available to the channel, as if you had performed a Set(var=value) in the dialplan. More than one Setvar: may be specified.


With the main process ID (pid) of the Asterisk process, the retry number, and the attempts start and end times in time_t format.

Directory locations

  • <astspooldir>/outgoing - The outgoing dir, where call files are put for processing
  • <astspooldir>/outgoing_done - The archive dir
  • <astspooldir> - Is specified in asterisk.conf, usually /var/spool/asterisk

How to schedule a call

Call files that have the time of the last modification in the future are ignored by Asterisk. This makes it possible to modify the time of a call file to the wanted time, move to the outgoing directory, and Asterisk will attempt to create the call at that time.